Published on July 31, 2019

Dalia Raphael Founder and Director at Delta Insights I Winner of RN WIICT – Entrepreneur Award 2020

Leadership is about bringing out the best of a diverse team.

A popular Middle Eastern saying is “The fingers on your hand are all different”. While this is a loosely translated version, the essence of the saying is intended to convey that, although the fingers on your hand are all different, they work together to achieve the same goal., whether this is to grip a paintbrush and produce a piece of art, or to gently cradle a baby and help sooth it to sleep. This concept can be applied to managing a team that consists of diverse individuals, who, through leadership, bring out their best and work together to reach team’s goals.   

The fingers of the hand come in different shapes and sizes, and each of them performs a unique role. While some fingers are long and slender, others are short and stubby.  While the thumb is the shortest, it is also the one most used to convey a positive thumbs up. Within a team, this could be the person with the most positive attitude who keeps the team together. 

The index finger is always ready to make a point or flick through the pages of a book. This could be a person who keeps the team heading in the right direction. 

The longest finger, being the middle one, is often used to express certain emotions and stands out from the rest. While standing out from the team may not be positive, there is a need for a voice for the team to highlight their achievements and raise any concerns.

 The remaining fingers, the ring and little finger, are all active members of the hand and so in a team you need people willing to help others.  

Finally, the palm of the hand is the one who holds the fingers and orchestrates them to function together. This is where leadership comes into play as it is only through this that the team can work  together and achieve their goals. Through leadership you can bring the best out of  each individual and  help the team work as one.

 When it comes to organising teams, the natural approach would be to build one consisting of like-minded people, but the outcome could be that everyone is trying to perform the same role. Sometimes managers fall into the trap of comparing one team member to another and expecting them all to be the same. In reality, they are different, and this difference can help the team grow.  So, next time you put together a team to deliver a project, think about your hand and how a diverse team can be the right team for you. 

For me leadership is about heightening the best of everyone in the team, where each member  brings their own unique experience and ideas